Two Doves Collective
Elizabeth Smith and Jasmine Kubacki
Tell me about yourself?
Elizabeth- I was introduced to and majored in metalsmithing at SUNY New Paltz in the late 90's. I have had a love of working with metal ever since, but stopped working with it all together for about 7 years while I was raising my babies. When I was ready to work outside the home again, I worked for mixed media sculptors and fiber crafters before connecting with my old love of metalsmithing. I have been working with jewelry professionally for the past 6 years and still feel at the beginning of my journey with not only the material but the expansive possibilities with current technologies and accessibility to materials and internet info that didn't exist when I was first starting out.
Jasmine- My dad was in the Navy, so I moved around a little bit, but Staten Island has always been my home base because this is where my grandparents lived and raised their family. I went to school at Parsons School of Design for illustration, and when I realized that I wasn't cut out for freelance, I ended up interning at a jewelry shop, and it snowballed from there. My family moved to New Brighton in 2014, a neighborhood I'd always been curious about on my commute on the S48/98 all through my college years and after. A mysterious place up on the hill!
How did the two of you meet?
Jasmine- We met when we worked at this jewelry store in Brooklyn and we met again at another company.
Elizabeth -The first jewelry story we worked at was more of an assemble jewelry store. Where anyone could go in the store and design their own jewelry. You could pick out your own components and pick out as many or as few colors and charms as you would want. We [Jasmine and I] were sales people and would assemble and help everybody with design, but more so assemble. We worked fairs through the store and we were familiar selling in booths and at markets. After I left that job, I got a different job at a company that was developing their own brand sell. It was more of a traditional jewelry store set up in that we had jewelry benches, we worked with gold, diamonds and standard soldering. As the studio grew we needed more people and Jasmine happened to reach out to me as we were asking for more people to join. I brought her in and we both did a lot there. We learned a lot of stuff with lasers and engraving machines and learning how to mass produce jewelry well in a short time-frames. We went from individual personal help at the first company to the second company which was all production. That was a lot of training.
What inspired you to begin Two Doves Collectives? What inspired the name?
Jasmine -The name comes from the two doves that are on the seal of the Staten Island Borough flag. We're also two lovely doves if you will.
Two doves began as a discussion between Liz and I of how much we love SI, and how there didn't seem to be too many jewelers who focused on this amazing borough. Our jewelry experience was based on the trends and markets of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Although we learned so much about the business we just felt like Staten Island deserved just as much of our love and efforts.
We're both history lovers, and our love for antique jewelry, and just crafts in general has helped to shape our line. We have a strong nautical tilt to our line, we do live on an island after all! I grew up in Maine, and Liz on Long Island, and New England and just the rich Maritime history of the island has been a huge influence.
Elizabeth-The spark for the development of Two Doves came from a personal devastation in my work life. I was utterly crushed and Jasmine literally rescued me from myself by pushing me to focus my mind and hands in growth and creation.
How did you learn about MakerSpace? How has MakerSpace helped you?
Jasmine- I can't pinpoint when I found out about MakerSpace, but a couple of years ago, I took a stained glass class. Earlier this summer, we installed our glass arch in Maker Park, and that was definitely a turning point. It introduced us to the world of MakerSpace, and we felt like this was the community we wanted to belong to. We're both super shy, and having our studio at MakerSpace has been a great exercise in socializing, and a point of pride for us. It's such a beautiful thing to be able to say that we have a shared home base in such a cool space!
Elizabeth- I moved here with my family about 2.5 years ago after living in Brooklyn for 13 years. We took in all that is unique about Staten Island with fresh eyes and a strong desire to put down roots and find out what’s going on here. When I first walked into MakerSpace, after finding it on the Internets, my heart leapt with joy when I saw all the metal and tools! It felt like this mix of college vibes with the added bonus of being an adult without assignments.
MakerSpace has helped us by creating a space where we can not only work with fire, loud tools, and messy materials but most importantly people! Despite having intense social anxiety, I love connecting with other makers and seeing what is happening with their projects and developments. It’s so important to step out of one’s own bubble and see and hear what others are doing, especially when it’s in a different medium or scale.
Do you have any upcoming projects or pieces you are working on? Will you be in any Holiday markets?
Elizabeth - We are traveling on a few paths, which is what makes Two Doves a true collective [hence the name Two Doves Collective] . I am connecting with wax carving again, and hope to release this crazy chunky sea serpent ring (it’s pretty awesome) soon. I am also reconnecting with and expanding on some traditional metalsmithing processes and hopefully bring that into a workshop. Stones and stone setting are on the horizon too. It’s an exciting moment right now with Two Doves because we have a small base of pieces established and a platform to grow and develop further. Our muse is Staten Island and the waters surrounding it. Collaborating with and developing pieces inspired by the cultural and historical institutions here is our north star.
We are still very new to the markets on S.I. so we are not having tables each weekend of the holiday season. However, we will be at the MakerSpace Fair on Dec. 9th and I feel it will be a very special full circle moment for me personally. We are still putting a lot of time into our Etsy shop and updating our listings with our newest pieces and getting our line together for future wholesale opportunities.
Jasmine- We have so many ideas and projects in the works, and we are just getting started! The markets we have done have been so great for feedback, like multiple requests for bigger SI ferry charm (in the works), and gold items! We made a few pearl rings. One of them has mermaids and the other is a more modern take on pearl rings like a cocktail ring. We have a Darned Club pinkie ring. We have exactly put it out, but it is inspired by Alice Austin. From the famous photo of her which is called the Darned Club. It will be available with no stone or sapphire. We also have sea foam rings, small ferry charms (and soon big ones too) and our Randall's Lot rings that come in sets of 5 as a tribute to founder of Snug Harbor. It's been hard trying to break into the SI market, being shy people, but hopefully the New Year will bring a whole new level of two doves.
What is your favorite MakerSpace moment?
Jasmine- I think for me, seeing Scott and Evan (Biscuit) weld our sculpture up in the park was very humbling. Just the warmth of everyone in the MakerSpace community, and how much creativity is packed into the warehouse. Vending at the MakerPark Radio block party was also a milestone. That was the first time we sold our pieces in public, and the reception, and lessons from it have remained so valuable to us.
Elizabeth- I can’t say I have one singular moment for Two Doves. For me it’s all about the little "hi!" from other makers, notes of info, curiosity in what we're doing and of course the encouraging conversations with Scott and the other makers and staff. Completing our found glass arch that sits in the park was a very special moment for me that I hope to do again.